ProVeg’s Holly Doran talks about the topics surrounding the sector, such as market trends, global initiatives and what innovations to expect for 2019.
Held from the 21-23 March 2019 at the Kalkscheune venue, ProVeg International’s New Food Conference is a two-day event filled with industry experts talking about the developments of the plant-based protein and cultured meat sectors.
The conference is expected to welcome around 350 guests, with tickets still available to purchase through its website.
Here’s what Doran had to say to GlobalMeatNews:
1. Tell me about some of the market trends in the global plant-based protein sector?
“Some of the trends include diversification in terms of raw materials (i.e. a shift away from soy and wheat), emphasis on recognisable, clean-label ingredients and the quality of the protein, and positioning which appeals to non-vegans and non-vegetarians.
“Brands are increasingly dialling up taste, ease of preparation and familiarity, as well as being placed alongside their animal product counterparts, which is leading to a shift in the way consumers categorise plant-based protein and define the protein category as a whole.”
2. The meat alternative sector has rapidly intensified over the past few years. Why do you think this is?
“Companies like Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods have changed the face of meat alternatives. Through dedicating time and resource to R&D, they have developed products that look, taste and feel similar to consumers‘ all-time favourites, breaking down stereotypes and tempting those who may have had a disappointing experience to give plant-based meat another go.
“They have raised quality standards in the sector and, to an unprecedented degree, successfully appealed to meat-eaters. Their success has attracted investment in alternatives to animal products, inspired big companies to expand into plant protein and start-ups to focus on plant-based innovation. This has not only led to the meat alternatives sector growing rapidly, but has had a ripple effect, influencing plant-based growth in other sectors too.”
3. What meat alternatives in particular have performed well over the past year in terms of sales?
“Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods are doing very well everywhere their burgers are available. In the UK, Quorn continues to grow, having recently opened the world‘s largest meat production facility for meat alternatives, while Naturli’ is rapidly expanding beyond its home market of Denmark with its wide selection of alternatives. In Germany, Rügenwalder Mühle, a major meat company with which ProVeg worked closely in developing its plant-based range, including local favourites such as sausages and cold cuts, holds the title of market leader, and LikeMeat are enjoying strong year-on-year growth. Vivera, which sold 40,000 of its plant-based steaks in just one week at Tesco, and The Vegetarian Butcher, which is likely to increase its presence further now that it has been bought by Unilever, are also experiencing high levels of demand and success in several markets.”
4. Does the European market have similar initiatives such as ‘Veganuary’, which is very popular in the UK at the moment, and how has that affected the sector?
“There are comparable campaigns in Europe, e.g. Meat-free Monday in Belgium (and several other countries), Vegan Challenge in January in Finland, Veggie Challenge in the Netherlands and, undoubtedly, others too. These initiatives are incredibly important in driving plant-based innovation across the food value chain and in increasing the likelihood of people trying out plant-based eating by offering the opportunity for them to ‘try before they buy‘, so to speak.
“Of course, the increase in delicious, affordable and readily available plant-based products released on the occasion of such initiatives, as we‘ve seen more prominently than ever in the UK for Veganuary this year, also contributes to making the switch seem less daunting. These initiatives lead…